Background Information
on the
UNITED STATES RIFLE
CALIBER .30
Model 1892

Table of Contents
IBasic Statistics
IIDevelopment History
IIIService History
IVRifle Picture
VConflict Use
VIAdditional Links

I - Basic Statistics
STATISTICS
United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1892
Date Adopted: 15 September 1892
Length: 1245mm (49.01")
Weight, empty: 4.27kg (9.38 lbs.)
Caliber: .30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity: 610mps (2000FPS)

STATISTICS
United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1896
Date Adopted: 19 February 1896
Length: 1245mm (49.01")
Weight: 4.07kg (8.94 lbs.)
Caliber: .30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity: 610mps (2000FPS)

STATISTICS
United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1896
Date Adopted: 17 May 1895
Length: 1045mm (41.15")
Weight:3.53kg (7.75 lbs.)
Caliber:.30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity:534mps (1750FPS)

STATISTICS
United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1898
Date Adopted: 14 March 1898
Length: 1248mm (49.13")
Weight: 4.09kg (9.00 lbs.)
Caliber: .30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity: 671mps (2200FPS)

STATISTICS
United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1898
Date Adopted:14 March 1898
Length:1045mm (41.15")
Weight:3.55kg (7.80 lbs.)
Caliber:.30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity:601mps (1970FPS)

STATISTICS
United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1899
Date Adopted:?? ????? 1899
Length:1045mm (41.15")
Weight:3.58kg (7.87 lbs.)
Caliber:.30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity:601mps (1970FPS)

STATISTICS
Philippine Constabulary Carbine
Date Adopted:10 February 1906
Length:1045mm (41.15")
Weight:3.65kg (8.03 lbs.)
Caliber:.30 U.S. Government (.30-40 Krag)
Muzzle Velocity:534mps (1750FPS)

II - Development History

The development of the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1892 was driven by two key factors:


Smokeless gunpowder gave weapons designers of the late Nineteenth century the ability to create more powerful rifles which didn't require as much maintenance or care as the previous generation of rifles using black powder to propel a projectile. It also allowed the diameter of both the bullet and the cartridge case to be reduced and the muzzle velocity of the round to be increased.1 This change would allow more rounds to be carried by an infantryman, giving him greater level of firepower to throw against the enemy.

The repeating rifle was first adopted by the French in 1886, quickly followed by the Germans in 1888, the British, also in 1888 and the Russians in 1891.2 With the European powers rearming their militaries with bolt-action repeating rifles, the U.S. Army was compelled to do the same. On 15 September 1892, after testing over fifty types of bolt-action rifles, the rifle they finally chose to adopt was a modification of the Danish Krag-Jorgenson rifle of 1889.3 Colonel Ole Hermann Johannes Krag and Erik Jorgensen thus designed the second of three standard Army rifles for three nations; Denmark in 1889, the United States in 1892 and Norway in 1894.4

The rifle was standardized as the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1892.
M1892 Krag
M1892
From a design standpoint, the action of the rifle was very smooth and precise. Even today, few bolt-action rifles can match the smoothness of the Krag's action. But while the rifle's action was exquisitely designed and very well-built, the rifle suffered from tactical problems associated with its magazine feeding system and the lack of power of its cartridge.

The Krag's magazine wrapped around beneath the rifle's bolt and fed new cartridges from below and slightly to the left to be the bolt. To recharge an empty weapon, the operator had to cant the rifle onto its left side and open a cover hinged to swing to the right, allowing up to five rounds to be placed into the magazine. The shooter could then close the cover and operate the bolt to chamber a round into the rifle's breech. This motion required the infantryman to remove his eyes from the enemy, so in the heat of battle, the infantryman could not tell by touch alone if he was placing fresh rounds in the magazine properly so a misfed round would not cause a jam. This tactical peculiarity's failure under fire, combined with the lack of power of the .30-40 cartridge used in the Krag, during the Spanish-American War of 1898 led to the Krag being replaced after a service life of just eleven years. Only the M14 rifle had a shorter official front-line service life span than the Krag's, ten years compared to the Krag's eleven.

While the Krag was adopted in 1892, the first rifles were not built until 1894. Because the adoption of a foreign design upset American inventors, Congress stated the $400,000.00 budgeted for Krag rifle production could not be used until a second round of tests were conducted, so during April - May 1893, an additional fourteen American-designed rifles were tested. None of the new rifles could pass the testing, and as specified by Congress, the Krag went into full production.5

Late in 1892, a carbine version of the standard rifle was designed, but only a few were ever built when the Krag went into full production in 1894. After two years of field use, the Krag underwent a series of design changes to correct problems. These changes caused the modified Krag to be adopted as the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1896 on 19 February 1896.6
M1896 Krag
M1896
Previously built M1892 rifles were converted to the M1896-type as the rifles were brought in for maintenance. A carbine version of the M1896 was approved on 23 May 1895, but it was first issued on 10 March 1896.7 Around this time, the M1896 Cadet rifle, a further variation of the M1896 incorporating additional modifciations to the design, was created for use at the United States Military Academy at West Point and other service schools.8

The United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1898 was adopted on 14 March 1898, with the first issues occurring on 8 July 1898.9 A carbine was again adopted,
M1898 Krag
M1898
but as with the M1896, the carbine versions of the M1898 were produced on the same production lines, but with the needed changes. In an effort to reduce training costs, a .22 caliber rifle was developed and used just as the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1903 came into full production. 10 The final two Krags, the M1899 Carbine and the Philippine Constabulary Carbine, were simply variations of the M1898. The M1899 Carbine was again intended for cavalry troop use, while the Philippine Constabulary Carbine was nearly a carbine, but with the rifle's capability of attaching a bayonet.11



III - Service History

The Krag gave yeoman service under the leisurely stresses of daily military use while in garrison or training. But under the unforgiving eye of combat, it failed miserably.
U.S. Army
Private - 1898
Army Private - 1898
During the Battle of Kettle and San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Krag-armed American soldiers engaged Spanish soldiers armed with Model 1895 Mauser rifles. The fire from the Mauser-armed Spaniards tore into the Americans, who suffered heavy losses. 12 It was the casualties inflicted at this battle which caused the American Army to start searching for a better rifle able to compete on equal terms against the Mauser design, which was rapidly being adopted by other military powers around the world. So it is quite ironic Springfield Armory chose to basically copy the Mauser design with its next rifle, the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1903.

After the adoption of the M1903, the Krag continued to soldier on as a training rifle and in the hands of National Guard troops until after World War I. During the 1930s, the Krag was also issued by the U.S. Treasury Department to rural bank guards to help defend the bank against criminals and was issued to security guards who guarded strategic production plants during World War II.


IV - Rifle Picture

U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M-1892 United States Rifle
Caliber .30
M1892
Adopted: 15 September 1892
U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M-1896 United States Rifle
Caliber .30
M1896
Adopted: 19 February 1896
U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M-1898 United States Rifle
Caliber .30
M1898
Adopted: 14 March 1898


V - Conflict Use
Conflicts Used
ConflictDate
Spanish-American War1898
Philippine Insurrection1898 - 1904
Battle of Tagalii, Samoa1899
China Relief Expedition
(aka The Boxer Rebellion)
1900
World War I1917 - 1918
World War II1941 - 1945

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Footnotes:
1Ezell, Edward C., The Great Rifle Controversy, Stackpole Books, 1984.
2Ezell, Edward C., ibid.
3Brophy, William S., The Krag Rifle, Beinfeld Publishing Incorporated, 1985.
4Brophy, William S., ibid.
5Brophy, William S., ibid.
6Brophy, William S., ibid.
7Brophy, William S., ibid.
8Brophy, William S., ibid.
9Brophy, William S., ibid.
10Brophy, William S., ibid.
11Brophy, William S., ibid.
12Hoyt, Edwin P., America's Wars and Military Excursions, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1987.

Figures:
1Brophy, William S., The Krag Rifle, Beinfeld Publishing Incorporated, 1985.
2Brophy, William S., ibid.
3Brophy, William S., ibid.
4Katcher, Philip, U.S. Infantry Equipments 1775 - 1910, Osprey Publishing, 1989.


Web Page Compiled By: David L. Velleux
Copyright � 1997